A family business through and through

By Jack Hayes

After opening in late 2019, The Butcher Club Epicurean at The District Docklands has become a favourite among Docklanders looking to broaden their supermarket experience. Why? Because of their “old-fashioned service, delicious meats, and pre-prepared dishes.”

In what was a dream 60 years in the making, The Butcher Club opened its first store in Altona Meadows seven years ago. Now, the family-owned and -run business has 22 stores spread across the state, from Mornington to Geelong, Ferntree Gully to Ballarat.

Of those 22 locations, its Docklands store is one-of-a-kind, not only specialising in its trademark value added, pre-cut meats, but also accompaniments to round off your cooking experience including sauces, pastas, cheeses and pre-prepared meals.

“We tried to take what we’ve done at our other butcher stores and turn it into a more holistic grocery approach,” The Butcher Club marketing coordinator Sarah Mantfeld said. “Still offering quality cuts of meat and that same butcher experience but expanding the store with greater offerings to turn it into a one stop shop for your meal needs.”

“We know that locals and visitors are after convenience and that is exactly what we provide – no mess, no fuss.”

Although 2020 presented many challenges for businesses and locals alike, Ms Mantfeld said, as one of the few stores permitted to continue trading in the area, her team was able to form a lasting bond with residents, looking for expert service and advice.

“It [2020] was more positive than negative for us. It gave us a great opportunity to meet an abundance of local shoppers and help us show why shopping local and supporting small business is so important,” she said.

“It gave us the chance to get to know locals, get an idea of their tastes, provide cooking tips and sometimes offer up a few alternatives that were a bit more experimental.”

“One of our really popular features of the store is the heat and eat section. We’ve got a number of ready-made meals. Whether it be our pizzas, pastas, pasta sauces or our microwave My Muscle Chef meals which we seem to be selling more and more by the day, locals are enjoying the convenience given they’re back at work and don’t have the luxury of putting on a 10-hour slow cook.”

With the limitation of some international products, The Butcher Club Epicurean was forced to revisit its business model, focusing almost solely on importing Australian cheeses and other products.

Other, “non-butchery”, products you are likely to find at their Docklands store include seafood, wine, meat rubs, spices, condiments, chips, fair-trade chocolates, cheese, small goods, soft drinks and ice coffee.

According to Ms Mantfeld, The Butcher Club co-founders Peter Robinson and Andre Van der Linden come from long lines of butchers – grandparents, fathers, brothers, cousins and sons – boasting several decades of industry experience.

“Although we have grown our reach to a number of stores, we are still just a small family run business. Our head office is made up of six people, including Peter’s daughter. I think it is that friendly, family approach that has been so receptive to locals,” Ms Mantfeld said.

The Butcher Club has just launched a rewards program to give back to customers. For points earned customers will receive dollars off their shop.

“We want to thank people for shopping with us because we know how easy it is to throw your meat in while doing your big supermarket shop and we know there is a bit of effort required to come to us,” Ms Mantfeld said. •

For more information: thebutcherclub.com.au

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